The Sickness Absence Review is a long document with a number of comments and recommendations, including:
- For employers tackling sickness absence in the workplace, a key barrier to getting people back to work is that the vast majority of fit notes declare employees to be completely incapable of work. This leaves the employer with no options or advice to help the employee back into work
- So the government should set up a new Independent Assessment Service (IAS) that employers and GPs can refer long-term sickness absence cases to for bespoke advice. Employers stand to gain around £100m a year from reductions to sick pay bills from using this service.
Co-author David Frost says, "Evidence clearly shows that the longer you are out of work the harder it becomes to get back in. But in many cases sickness absence is due to health conditions that are nonetheless compatible with work – and can often be improved by work. The current certification system does not provide employers with the advice they need to make informed decisions about their employees’ capability for work. The establishment of the Independent Assessment Service will provide practical support and help to allow employers to make informed judgements about a return to work for their staff."
The government will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the findings and recommendations with the view to publishing a response during 2012.